If you’re a creative or an entrepreneur, and especially if you’re a creative entrepreneur, then you’ve likely experienced some level of Imposter Syndrome. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach combined with anxiety, self-doubt, and maybe even a little panic. Fear that you’re not good enough to be what you are supposed to be. The thing about putting yourself out there creatively, or starting your own business, is that you are exposed. These endeavors are not entered into lightly; everyone now knows about your vision and your dreams. Who gave you permission to have such big dreams? What right do you have to think your thing is worth contributing to the world?
Merely typing out those last words caused me to sigh with a bit of relief. Admitting that it’s hard to feel vulnerable makes it a little less scary. Some days I feel confident about my goals and abilities, other days I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I think that this is normal. I’ve found that the trick is not to let your thoughts and emotions get the best of you. Counter every doubt with accomplishments that you’re proud of. Look back and realize how far you’ve come. You have to be your own coach and cheerleader on most days and find your tribe for the days you can’t. A support system that gets you and the emotional roller coaster you’re on. Your best friends and family may or may not fall into this category. I am so grateful that many of mine do! Fellow entrepreneurs and creative souls need each other.
Cultivating a community you can turn to IRL is so important, but online resources can also keep Imposter Syndrome in check. It’s really helpful to be connected with makers and doers on social media who share your challenges and who are being transparent about their journey. When you realize that people you admire don’t always feel worthy of admiration it helps you to be more gentle with yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the follower counts, perfectly staged images, and seemingly endless amazing opportunities that others have. What looks easy and instantaneous rarely ever is. Exceptional circumstances aside, success is nearly always preceded by a lot of hard work. You know what’s not easy to Instagram? Hard work. The many hours that have been invested before seeing any return and taking care of all of the nitty gritty details. I believe feeling empathy towards your peers instead of jealousy can make a huge difference.
One last resource I can’t get enough of is the Being Boss podcast. Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson (+ incredible guests) provide a wealth of information and support. They even have an episode called, “How to Be Boss Even When You Feel Like A Fraud.” Every boss can benefit from this podcast, especially women. I love the collaborative, positive relationship that Emily and Kathleen share. Listening to them is like joining a boss sisterhood where there is always more room at the table. Enough success to go around for all of us.
This post is really a Note to Self. So remember, and I will try to remember too, “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”